By Jane Claspy Nesmith
Katie Luehrsmann has a standing appointment every Tuesday at Daniel Arthur’s restaurant in Cedar Rapids. From 11:31-1:01, Luehrsmann and more than a dozen other local business people meet for a working lunch. And it’s one of the most productive hours of the week. “I think of the group as my personal sales force and know that they are out there talking about my business and what I do to those they interact with daily,” says Luehrsmann. “Almost every week I get a new tip,” says Luehrsmann. “Those tips have lead to more than ten new clients in the last five months.”
The meeting Luehrsmann attends is the Linn County chapter of LeTip International, which is, according to their website, “the world’s largest, privately owned professional business leads organization.” Founded in 1978, the organization gives business people a chance to share contacts, practice public speaking, and build strong business relationships.
Luehrsmann, who is an agent for Bouslog Insurance in Marion, is also the president of the Linn County chapter of LeTip, which she recently founded after searching for a networking organization that would fit her needs. “Believe it or not, I heard about LeTip on the show ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County,’” laughs Luehrsmann.
“I e-mailed the president of LeTip to find out more about it. We started corresponding and she encouraged me to start the first chapter in Iowa.”
When someone joins LeTip, he or she automatically gains a network of colleagues who will search out business leads. “Every week each member should bring at least one business lead for someone in the group,” explains Luehrsmann. “It’s everyone’s responsibility and it’s a large enough group now that it’s not hard to do.”
Like many professional networking organizations, LeTip is selective in who it admits. The organization has different categories for professions to choose from and they only admit one person per category. “If there were two people in the accountant category, who would I give my lead to?” asks Luehrsmann. The Linn County chapter has members in the areas of banking, insurance, real estate, jewelry sales, construction and many more.
In addition, prospective members are voted on by current members who inspect the business to make sure it’s reputable—the kind of business they’d like to recommend to others. But the meetings aren’t just about making business contacts. “People are eager to learn about each other and about their businesses,” says Luehrsmann.
After being greeted by that Tuesday’s official greeter, members have a chance to see a display put together by the week’s official “showboater,” who can bring in samples of their work, brochures, or other materials. Each week a different member gets to speak for ten minutes about their business. “Sometimes they’ll bring in a Power Point or slides,” says Luehrsmann. At the end of the meeting, everyone gets to give a commercial for 30 seconds about what they do and how other members can refer them.
“It really makes you a better public speaker,” says Luehrsmann. “That 30-second speech helps you get to know your business better. It gets you comfortable with your ‘elevator speech.’”
Members also get a chance to learn more about another members business every other week. “We draw business cards and have a one-on-one meeting with that person, maybe over coffee,” says Luehrsmann. “That gives us a chance to share information about our business and talk more in detail about what we specifically do and are looking for in a potential lead.”
Monica Boeckenstedt has been a member of the Linn County LeTip chapter since it began. “I first heard about LeTip from Katie. I worked with her and her husband on their kitchen remodel a few years ago,” says Boeckenstedt. “When Katie mentioned she wanted to start a referral group, I knew it would benefit me.” Boeckenstedt, who owns 929 Design, Inc., likes the network LeTip offers. “Since I work alone, it gives me the opportunity to work alongside of others and learn from them.”
“I don’t do cold calls anymore,” says Luehrsmann. “This is a great way to get warm leads and more business.” LeTip has many other aspects to explore and as a chapter we are just starting to get into some of the many things this organization has to offer. “We have many business categories still available that we’re looking for someone to fill,” says Luehrsmann. “We welcome any guests who would like to join us on Tuesday’s to see how the group works.” If your goals for 2010 include increasing your sales and you would like to hear more about our group please contact Katie Luehrsmann at 377.7321 or send her an e-mail. You can also visit LeTip’s corporate website at: http://www.letip.com.
Katie Luehrsmann– President
Personal & Commercial Insurance Agent, Bouslog
Kris Berry– Vice President
Jewelry Sales, Silpada Designs
Kären Wilson– Treasurer
Dentist, Cedar Valley Family Dentistry
Teri Sissel– Secretary
Health & Nutrition Sales, Mona Vie
Brooke Zrudsky– Tip Master
Residential Realtor, Skogman Realty
Monica Boeckenstedt– Membership Chair
Cabinetry Sales, 929 Designs
Matt Kluesner– Banker, Regions Bank
Amanda D’Amico– Business Attorney, Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PC
Diane Northway– Group Health Insurance, Group Specialists Inc.
Jamie Buresh– Contractor/Remodeler, Jim Buresh Construction Co.
Ted Steger– Financial Planner, Edward Jones
Josh Rice– Life Insurance Agent, Transamerica
Amanda Heyda– Event Coordinator/Manager, Daniel Arthurs Restaurant
Michelle Foley– Skin Care Representative, Mary Kay Cosmetics
Kameron Stanfield– Home Mortgage Consultant, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Sara Hazen– Painter
Terry Christianson-Home Inspector, My Space Home Inspection
Patrick Williams– Handyman, To The Rescue
Rick Buchheim– Accountant, Fox & Buchheim PC
Permission to reprint article courtesy of:
City Revealed Magazine
6831 Kent Dr NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402